It seems like a long, long time ago but back in 2000 we took a one year sabbatical and sailed from Toronto, Canada to the Bahamas. It was an awesome experience that put us on the path to becoming lifelong sailors and our current adventure.
We’ll save the details of the trip for another post but highlights included going through the locks on the Erie Canal to the Hudson river, sailing through New York Harbour, anchoring in Annapolis during the boat show, motor-sailing the Intercoastal Waterway, anchoring and snorkeling the beautiful turquoise waters of the Exumas, and racing our boat in 7-feet of water in the Staniel Cay Regatta.
Things have changed a lot since that first sabbatical. We now have a bigger boat with lots of room and a lot more features. We’re not using Pocketmail with a public phone to send e-mail. And, we don’t have jobs to go back to this time (which may or may not be a good thing).
However, the concept of time hasn’t changed so we’re enjoying the “luxury of time” that we didn’t have during that first trip. It may seem strange that taking a year to sail from Toronto to Bahamas and back was not long enough but when you’re travelling over 2,000 miles (each way) at approximately 5 miles an hour or 50 miles a day you don’t have a lot of time to really get to know the towns and villages along the way.
We did enjoy extended stays of a few weeks in Annapolis, Miami (of course), Staniel Cay and Georgetown but there were so many places that we had to pass on (Key West, Turks and Caicos, Cape Cod) or where we wanted to stay longer (the Abacos, Eleuthera and Charleston) but ran out of time.
As you can already tell from our posts, we’re definitely taking our time this trip and have already spent almost 3 months in just two places – La Paz and La Cruz. Granted they are both sailing destinations with lots to do and see, and all of the amenities that long-term sailors need but the point is not only have we been to all the tourists stops and restaurants, we’ve also gotten to know the streets, supermarkets, street markets, bus routes (yes, we take local buses) and local events. Did you know the “secret” fruit and vegetable market in La Cruz is on Sunday and Thursday nights from 5-10 pm in a warehouse?
The other advantage to staying in one place for a while is our Spanish is actually getting better. OK, Audrey’s Spanish is getting much better and mine is marginally improving. But, hey I’ve still got a year, right?
Staying longer has also made it easy for friends to visit for extended periods without us having to worry about where we plan to be or when we need to rush to the next destination. In December, our friends Matt and Madalin escaped from winter in Toronto for two weeks to join us in La Paz; then just a day later Diane and Julio from Mexico City (via China and Miami) joined us for a week.
As a matter of fact, Sharon and Graeme from Toronto just left us after almost 2 weeks here in the La Cruz area, which includes Puerto Vallarta, Yelapa, Punta Mita and Sayulita (a cool surfing town), and we think we were able to pass some of our experiences on to them. We went to the La Cruz Farmers Market and “secret” fruit and vegetable market. We had them ride the local bus to Puerto Vallarta and again on a trip to Sayulita. As a matter of fact, Audrey and Sharon took the bus to Wal-Mart, which entailed being dropped off on the side of the highway, crossing the highway and jumping into an unmarked white van to get supplies while Graeme and I did boat chores. We even took them to “Tacos on The Street” for the best street food in town. And, while discussing plans for Yelapa (see Audrey’s previous post) we warned them about the very rolly anchorage and the 4-hour hike to the waterfalls.
It’s hard to believe we’ve been in La Cruz for over a month as there seems to be so much more to do, including the upcoming Banderas Bay Regatta and spending more time in Puerto Vallarta, but it may be time to move on. We’ll let you know in the next post..:-)
In the interim, here’s a few more pics from our recent adventures: